Atomic cyst assistance

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  • Published: Mar 15, 2009
  • Author: David Bradley
  • Channels: Atomic
thumbnail image: Atomic cyst assistance

Researchers in Turkey have used atomic absorption spectroscopy and other techniques to analyse the levels metal ions and phosphorus in samples of fluid from breast cyst. They have observed a marked difference between the ratios of ions in the two main types of cyst one of which is more closely associated with the development of breast cancer.

Gross cystic breast disease (GCBD) is one of the most common breast diseases. The risk of developing subsequent breast cancer is relatively high in women with apocrine (type I) cysts compared with those having flattened (type II) cysts.

Ali Riza Sisman and Banu Önvural of the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Dokuz Eylul University, Inciralti, Izmir, Turkey, working with colleagues Banu Sis and Tülay Canda in the Department of Pathology have looked at the levels and ratios of for sodium, potassium, iron and phosphorus ions to determine whether there is a simple approach to classifying the different types of cyst. The technique could provide a rapid indicator of future cancer risk in susceptible women.

The team explains that type I cysts carry a fluid having an electrolytic composition very close to that of normal intracellular fluid, the sodium to potassium ion ratio is less than 3. In contrast, the fluid in a type II cyst is closer to that of the circulating blood plasma with a Na:K ratio greater than 3.

Other researchers have, of course, investigated the electrolytic composition of breast cyst fluid (BCF) intensively, but only a few papers have been published that report the concentrations of trace elements in BCF.

"The aim of this study was to compare the concentrations of Na, K, Ca, P, Zn, Cu, Fe, and Na/K and trace element ratios in breast cyst fluid in two subgroups of breast cysts," the team explains. They obtained 63 samples of BCF from premenopausal women with gross cystic breast disease. The patients' initial diagnosis has been by clinical, xeromammographic, and cytological examination.

The team separated cells from their sample for cytological evaluation and then centrifuged the BCF prior to storage at −80 Celsius. They then carried out at an analysis of sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and iron using commercial kits from Roche Diagnostics on a Hitachi 747-200 autoanalyzer. They determined levels of copper and zinc using flame atomic absorption spectrophotometer on a Shimadzu AAS 680.

"We found statistically significant higher potassium, lower sodium, higher phosphorus concentrations, and lower Na:K ratios in type I cysts when compared with type II cysts' values," the researchers say.

Indeed, the median values of Na:K ratio in type I and in type II BCF were 0.32 and 6.2, respectively. They also observed higher levels of zinc, copper, and iron ions in type I cysts. Higher concentration ratios for [Na.Cu/K.Zn], [Na.Cu/K.Fe], and [Na.Zn/K.Fe] were seen in the type II cyst fluid samples.

"A significant negative correlation existed between Na/K and Cu, and a significant positive correlation between Na/K and Fe in type II cysts," the team explains. "We can conclude that the trace elements content of BCF, in addition to electrolytes, could be useful in classifying the breast cyst. Future studies in larger series are needed to confirm these data."


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